OPEC fund loans $10mn to Bank of Maldives to aid SMEs in tourism

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
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Austria- based intergovernmental development finance institution, OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) has signed a $10 million private-sector loan agreement with the Bank of Maldives to help its on-lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) engaged in tourism and related services.

The Bank of Maldives, as the largest financial institution in the region and a key lender to the tourism industry, will provide much-needed working capital to businesses in the tourism and associated industries.

Mr. Tim Sawyer, Bank of Maldives CEO and Managing Director remarked that “the funding comes at an opportune time as we reinforce resources for our COVID-19 response for the tourism and business sectors severely affected by the pandemic. Early on, we took the lead in mitigating the impact of a pandemic for businesses and this support from the OPEC Fund will aid our efforts as the country continues on its road to recovery.”

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to support the post-pandemic economic recovery in the Maldives. This private-sector lending further builds upon our established framework of cooperation with the Maldives, which dates back to 1977 and has allowed the OPEC Fund to provide public and private sector financing to support critical development projects in the country for decades,” added Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, OPEC Fund Director-General.

He pointed out that “our loan will help to revive businesses and sustain jobs that are critical for the stability of the local economy.”

The OPEC Fund has provided public and private sector lending to the Maldives for decades, financing projects in transportation, multi-sectoral, water and sanitation, and finance sectors. This latest loan is in line with the COVID-19 Response Package approved by the OPEC Fund last year to help its partner countries with their impact and recovery efforts.

The OPEC Fund’s loan forms part of syndication led by IFC, a World Bank Group member. “Helping Maldives revive tourism is critical for the resilient recovery of the economy hampered by COVID-19,” said Ms. Rosy Khanna, Regional Director for Financial Institutions Group for IFC Asia and the Pacific.

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